Manor hoping for Melbourne start

Published: Friday 13th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Manor sporting director Graeme Lowdon can offer no guarantees his team will be able to compete in Sunday’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Despite a herculean effort to be in Melbourne just three weeks after the team exited administration, the team failed to get either driver in young Briton Will Stevens or Spaniard Roberto Merhi on track for the two practice sessions at Melbourne’s Albert Park.

One of the key issues is that ahead of an auction of the team’s assets that was scheduled a few weeks ago, the hardware of every laptop and computer was wiped.

Although then rescued by energy entrepreneur Stephen Fitzpatrick, the South Yorkshire-based marque lost valuable and significant amounts of data and software required to help the cars run.

Since arriving in Melbourne, the team have been working around the clock with power-unit suppliers Ferrari to get the car and computers working in sync, however it has been complicated and time-consuming.

Explaining the situation, Lowdon said: “There are a lot of issues, none of which are a big surprise when you consider the amount of work required to get the team here in a very short space of time.

“We’ve put our best effort in and we will deal with each problem sequentially and try to get through them as quickly as we can, and try and get running as quickly as we can.

“Once these problems are solved we wouldn’t expect to see them again.”

As to Manor’s chances of competing in final practice or qualifying on Saturday, Lowdon added: “I honestly don’t know.

“What I can guarantee you is that in terms of commitment and rate of problem solving, we’ll be flat out.

“I can also say we’re not knocking on Ferrari’s door saying ‘where’s this?’ There are no problems there at all. We’re working very well together.

“The bottom line is we’re racers and we want to race. There is nothing we’re doing that has possibly slowed the process down.

“We want to be on track as quick as we possibly can, so we’ll keep pushing as hard as we can, and I’m pretty sure we’ll be there sooner rather than later and we can then move forward.”

Stevens, meanwhile, has conceded to being aware of Manor’s problems coming into the weekend and the possibility of undertaking a watching brief.

“We always knew this weekend was going to be tough, but we’re all working together to fix the issues and hopefully progress through the weekend,” said the 23-year-old from Walton-on-Thames.

“We’ve passed scrutineering, and as far as the car is concerned, everything is completely ready to go.

“It’s not down to the fact we haven’t got bits, or the car is not legal or anything like that, that’s all okay.

“But there are going to be gremlins, we are pushing to solve them, and we just have to be patient and go along with everything we need to do.

“Whether we will be in FP3 or quali, I honestly don’t know. All being well, hopefully we’ll be there.”

Published: Friday 13th March 2015 by The News Editor

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